Category Archives: People

When and where do I get ideas? The answer is revealed!

Recently, I was asked “When and where do you find you get most of your inspiration and ideas for stories?”

That could have such a quick and simple answer like – teatime in the kitchen or shopping in Ikea – but it really isn’t as simple as that.

I mentioned before that I think ideas are living things, like viruses, they are looking to “get you” to make their idea come true. If you are not the right person, then they fly away to look for someone else – sometimes they even leave you feeling lost and empty – bereft – and sometimes jealous or angry when you see someone else have success with the same idea!

In this video I explain where and when I get ideas and what I do about them when they come knocking on the door!

Archimedes – What a guy!

The more I learn about Archimedes, the more I think what an incredible person he must have been. I’m working on new titles to add to my Mega Minds series, about amazing thinkers and inventors of Science, Technology and Maths STEM. It’s very hard to judge across the centuries who is the most amazing Mega-mind. Newton said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” by which he meant that his predecessors had already worked out the principles upon which he could build new ideas. In time, Einstein would stand on Newton’s shoulders and so on. Archimedes had few shoulders to stand on, so he truly was an original thinker and his ideas and, more than that,  inventions were amazingly wide-ranging. I’m planning to add to my Mega-Minds series with other great STEM innovators. I remember spending a day in the science lab at a girl’s school. The walls were covered with posters of great scientists – all of them men. I was surprised. How were the girls’ to be inspired and feel that science was for them too, if there was not even a Marie Curie poster on the wall? I have a host of Mega-minds I’d like to write about and a good number of them are women, you’ll be pleased to hear but, for me, Archimedes has to be THE MAN!

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Interview with children’s book illustrator John Shelley – Japanese influence

Meet illustrator John Shelley and learn about his experience drawing for children’s books and advertising both in the UK, USA and Japan and learn how his love of Japanese culture and art has inspired his work.

John Shelley studied at Bournville School of Art, in the UK, amidst the aroma of chocolate from the nearby Cadbury’s works, then in Manchester under Tony Ross, before debuting as a children’s book illustrator in London. A fascination with Japanese art then took him to Tokyo, where he lived for many years, seeking the connection between Ukiyo-e and Ultraman.

In Japan, John illustrated for a wide variety of clients from advertising to editorial, and children’s books for publishers in East and West.

He now divided his time between Japan and the UK, writing, drawing, and annoying his cat.

John talks about his career as an illustrator, his influences and the lure of Japan which has influenced his style in a way that Japanese art has been influencing British art for a couple of hundred years, The influence then returning to Japan in a regular cycle. Being island nations, the British and the Japanese actually have quite a lot in common and hold a mutual fascination for each others cultures and arts.

John is on instagram @studionibs and Twitter @studioNIB

In this video:
00:00 introduction
00:36 Background and training
02:03 The lure of Japan
06:03 making posters in Japan
11:29 self promotion
13:02 Manga and Anime
17:53 Manga covers
20:44 Arthur Rackham influence
22:58 One Inch Drawings
28:00 Talking about Sketchbooks
33:00 More about one inch drawings